All-Star Case Studies

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2019 Case Study - McGinnis Sisters Special Food Stores


Company Background

McGinnis Sisters, based in Pittsburgh, is a $19-million family-run business of three popular, upscale food markets that sell a variety of gourmet delicacies, signature dishes, ethnic specialties and farm-fresh produce, meats and cheeses. The company‟s 215 team members (87 are full-time) have been using Great Game principles since 2005.

Great Game Solutions

At the outset, managers read The Great Game of Business, simplified the P&L, researched industry benchmarks and studied their Critical Numbers: sales, expenses, profit, inventory turns, shrinkage and dollars/man hour. To prepare for their first MiniGames, team members absorbed GGOB basics, designed scoreboards and learned how to up-sell and cross-sell. Within weeks, sales and morale were up dramatically. Business-literacy classes soon followed, along with more food-selling games, more costsavings, more product innovations and more bonus money.

Company Huddles are all about creative problem-solving. Each week, department heads and leaders of the office-support team forecast the financials and review month-to-date performance. At daily in-store Huddles, department reps predict the day's sales, report the previous day's results, share best practices and celebrate accomplishments.

Everyday recognition has greatly enhanced McGinnis‟s culture of ownership. Atta boy/Atta girl awards go to team members who go the extra mile; TOPS awards are presented to the store superstars, chosen by the staff. And the "Successful Team Leader‟ program focuses on leadership development through financial understanding and peer exchange.

Over the past three years, McGinnis has made considerable financial gains and has distributed more than $300K in bonuses. Its third store, which opened days after the recent market crash, is holding its own. “The Great Game has taught us to have faith and courage when sharing financial information with our employees,” says Noreen McGinnis Campbell, who owns the company with her sisters, Sharon and Bonnie. “As a result, loyalty and innovation and fun are surging.”


  • Sales growth: 15% in '07, 7% in '08 and 51% in '09 (with new store).
  • Profit margin: 4.8% in '07, 3.8% in '08 and –.05% in '09. Well ahead of the industry in '07 and '08.
  • Engagement: “Teams are participating more than ever, supporting MiniGames, products and mission.” The result: more transactions, more sales dollars and more fun.
  • Bonus dollars distributed: $166K in '07, $51K in '08 and $91K in '09.


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